St. Charles Parish Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ken Oertling released more information today on how the district will handle the reopening of its schools – and platooning students isn’t out of the question.
“Schools cannot reopen until permanent power is restored, necessary repairs made, and appropriate staffing secured,” he said, adding that once power is restored additional assessments/repairs of systems (such as electrical, air, technology, etc.) will be made prior to reopening. “Not all schools will reopen at the same time … schools will reopen when operationally ready and safe.”
Oertling said most sites may reopen within 2 weeks after power is restored if previously stated conditions are met.
“Some sites may take longer,” he said. “Platooning students may be an option for sites which are not operationally ready. Platooning consists of scheduling students to share sites by either time of day or assigned days, affording in-person learning for all students. If platooning is utilized, schedules may be revised.”
Oertling said recovery efforts are focused on getting schools operational as quickly as possible to allow for a return to in-person learning.
“Studies have shown time and again that there is no substitute equivalent to in-person learning,” he said.
Oertling also outlined options for students during the district closure. He said that at this time the Louisiana Department of Education has not waived any attendance requirements, meaning that the district’s school year calendar will have to be revised to provide a complete year of teaching and learning for the 2021-2022 school year.
“Parents are encouraged to determine what is in the best interests of their child(ren) and family in regards to what their child(ren) should be doing during this closure,” he said.
Depending on a child’s age, needs, and Internet availability, Oertling said there are several options available, including working directly with a child on academic skills through resources provided by SCPPS, registering in another school system, registering in an accredited Louisiana virtual school, or registering in a home study program.
“Please note that if your child registers with a school outside of St. Charles Parish Public Schools, the child will be considered withdrawn from SCPPS and will need to re-enroll upon return to St. Charles Parish Public Schools,” he said. “While our mission is to provide high-quality educational opportunities, we realize students and employees cannot engage in traditional teaching and learning without their basic needs being met. In an effort to understand the needs of our students’ families, a survey will be sent to all families on Friday to collect specific information relative to your needs, and a similar survey was sent to all employees earlier today in regards to their needs as well. Additionally, we have compiled a list of federal and local resources for families and employees to aid in the recovery process. The document will be made available on the school system’s website soon.”
Oertling said that in the 10 days since Hurricane Ida hit, the SCPPS hurricane response employees and hired contractors have been on site, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, doing the necessary work to move the district forward.